Hooker leads No. 7 Volleyball past Baylor, 3-0
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker totaled 17 kills on .615 hitting to lead the No. 7 Texas Volleyball team to a 3-0 (30-16, 30-22, 30-24) sweep of Baylor to extend its winning streak to six matches Wednesday night at Gregory Gymnasium. The Longhorns' victory moved UT to 11-3 on the season and 7-1 in Big 12 Conference play, while the Bears fell to 9-9 overall and 2-6 in league play. Texas' win was its 11th straight over Baylor and extended UT's perfect 29-0 home record against the Bears.
Hooker committed just one error on 26 swings in the match after playing the first two games without an error. Sophomore opposite hitter Ashley Engle joined Hooker in double figures with 11 kills on .421 hitting and added 10 digs for her first kill/dig double-double of the season. Senior middle blocker Brandy Magee posted 10 kills on the night, posting zero errors and hitting at an .833 clip.
In game one, Texas jumped out to an early lead, using a 4-0 run headlined by three straight Hooker kills to take a 5-2 edge. The Longhorns widened the margin to 11 later in the game, putting together a 6-0 run paced by two Engle kills to claim a 22-11 advantage. Freshman outside hitter Juliann Faucette helped move the lead to 28-14 with a solo block and freshman middle blocker Elizabeth Graham closed out the game with a kill to give UT a 30-16 game-one win.
After battling early, UT took advantage of a 3-0 run and a kill and an ace from Hooker to move the tally to 8-5. The Horns widened the margin to six at the 12-6 mark, taking advantage of two Faucette kills and a pair of Bears' miscues to add to their lead. Baylor rallied with a 4-0 run of its own to close the margin to 12-10, but UT answered with a 4-0 run highlighted by three points from Hooker to move the lead to 19-12. Texas sealed the game at the 28-18 mark after running off six straight points and taking advantage of a kill and block by Graham. The Bears rallied briefly, but back-to-back kills by senior outside hitter Jen Christian and Graham closed out the game, 30-22.
The score was close for much of third frame, but the Longhorns never relinquished the lead, jumping out to a 5-1 lead early and never looking back. Engle pushed the UT lead to five at the 12-7 mark and Magee helped fend off a BU rally with two straight kills that kept Texas in front, 19-15. The Bears closed the gap to two twice more, but back-to-back kills by Christian late in the game moved Texas' lead to 27-22 and set up Engle's match-ending kill at the 30-24 mark.
The Longhorns out-hit the Bears .421-to-.129 on the night and posted 58 kills to Baylor's 34. In the match, senior setter Michelle Moriarty led the Texas attack with 47 assists and nine digs, while senior libero Alyson Jennings chipped in nine digs of her own. Christian came off the bench to total five kills and hit at a .444 clip, while Graham posted a career-high three kills on .750 hitting. Sophomore defensive specialist Heather Kisner donned Texas' black libero jersey in the third game, marking the first time a UT player has worn the jersey since Jennings arrived on the Forty Acres.
Texas returns to action Saturday, Oct. 13 when it plays host to Big 12 Conference foe Kansas at Gregory Gymnasium. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.
On the tough upcoming schedule: We have Kansas on Saturday night and then we really have a brutal stretch. We're on the road against Oklahoma and Missouri and Missouri is starting to play better now that they've settled on a lineup. Then we have Nebraska at home and we're away again at Colorado. We were actually talking about that today as a staff. We're trying to make sure that everyone is rested mentally and also trying to improve on the things we're focusing on, especially the serve/receive game.
On the play of the bench tonight: We were able to get Elizabeth Graham on the court in two games tonight and she did very well. She's only played in a few matches so we're just trying to get her through some nerves, because as a freshman, the first time you actually step out on the court is pretty nerve-racking.
On being able to tweak certain parts of the game tonight: We're trying to get more balance between Destinee [Hooker], Ashley [Engle], and Juliann [Faucette], along with our middles, and we're getting closer to doing so. A lot has to do with ball control, and obviously the left sides (Juliann and Destinee) will get more shots because of out-of-system balls, but it was pretty good balance tonight for us.
On Heather Kisner getting a chance at playing libero: One of the things is preparing her for next year, but that isn't a given. She is going to have to compete with the other defensive specialists and the recruits that we have coming in. We've talked about it a couple times, but my thought is that she is so anxious to be able to do it. We've gotten her in the uniform to get used to it, in case we have to go to her sometime, but hopefully that won't be the case. It's always different when you have to put on that black jersey and be the one that is seen. I know she's been working really hard at it and she deserves the chance to do it.
SOPHOMORE OPPOSITE HITTER Ashley Engle
On Jen Christian's performance off the bench tonight: I think that it is difficult to be a senior and not to be able to have a starting spot, but I think she's handled it really well. She is still a leader on the court, she works hard and to able to come in tonight and perform like she did is really a great thing that shows the depth of our bench. Jen is just a really great player.
On Heather Kisner getting a chance to play libero: I think it is awesome. Heather is one of the hardest workers, consistently, on the team, and I know that she's been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. She was very happy to get the chance, and she did a really good job.
SOPHOMORE OPPOSITE HITTER Destinee Hooker
On improving her transition game: Tonight, I felt that I couldn't contribute in blocking, so I figured that if I couldn't block, then I might as well contribute in hitting. I decided to put my transition action in play and to keep the ball in play.